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Whole Wheat Almond-Poppy Seed Pancakes: Make Plans

Pancakes have become somewhat of a weekly tradition for us. Most days, Matt and I each sit down to a bowl of food — he to his cereal, me to my yogurt and granola. But on Saturday morning, I often start thinking about what I’ll be making for breakfast before I’ve even opened my eyes. I take a mental walk through my kitchen cabinets, my hands reaching for different flours, my eyes glancing over spices, extracts and fresh fruit. I peek into the fridge to see if I have buttermilk, milk, or cream. I start pondering combinations until I settle on what sounds best. By the time we’re both awake and chatting, I usually have a well-prepared plan. When it comes to breakfast – and most things in life, really — there’s never a question: I want sweet.

We rarely make it out for breakfast because it happens to be my favorite meal to prepare at home, and pancakes are the preferred start to my weekend. In the summer, they’re punctuated with blueberries. In the fall, they’re spiced and pumpkin-a-fied. In winter, fortified with oats and topped with jam (or made to resemble my favorite holiday treat). In spring, stacked with layers of fresh strawberries. In my humble opinion, you just can’t go wrong with pancakes. No Saturday starts without a record on the turntable, and of course, the smell of fresh coffee brewing in the Chemex. Since I’ve been pregnant, I dramatically cut down my coffee intake, but the smell of coffee is still one of my favorite things about the morning. I’ve only recently started to appreciate a leisurely morning; I’ve been less concerned about being early to the market or accomplishing too much outside the home before most people have showered.

Once you’ve found your favorite pancake recipe (mine comes from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain), the combination of flavors you can imagine are endless. With this particular recipe, I wanted to be reminded of the poppy seed rolls that can be found at every Russian table. I incorporated them for flavor (nutty), texture (crunchy), as well as appearance (strikingly blue-black). A drop each of almond and vanilla extracts brings to mind teatime with Italian biscotti, while maple syrup adds a little sweetness without making these pancakes sugary.

Whole Wheat Almond-Poppy Seed pancakes
*makes 8-10

1 cup of whole-wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
2 tablespoons of poppy seeds
1 cup of well-shaken buttermilk
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

butter, for the skillet

1. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Whisk in the poppy seeds.
2. Combine the buttermilk, maple syrup, egg and extracts in a medium bowl and whisk until combined. Stir into the dry the mix, being careful not to overmix.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large, non-stick skillet* over medium heat. Pour 1/3 cup-fuls of batter into the skillet, without overcrowing the pan (I usually do 2-3 at a time). Cook, without disturbing, until bubbles begin to form on the surface. Flip and cook until the edges are crisped and both sides are golden. Continue to scoop 1/3 cup-fuls of batter into the skillet (re-butter as necessary) until you have used up all of the batter. Adjust the heat so as not to burn the pancakes. Serve the pancakes warm, with butter and maple syrup.

*You can also use a large cast iron skillet, but be sure to wipe it between batches and re-butter frequently. 

Musical Pairings: Deerhoof – Breakup Song + Whole Wheat Almond-Poppy Seed Pancakes

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Posted by Kasey

Kasey is the food editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. She loves dark chocolate, warm crusty bread, and traveling to new places. She speaks Russian, but does not like vodka.

  • I do the same thing with pancakes: it’s a weekend treat and I always wake the gentleman up with, “do you want pancakes? what kind? how about pumpkin chocolate chip?” Or, sometimes, I simply blast this in his ear instead.

  • Pairing a delicious recipe with awesome music–what an idea. I know that I could have a problem when my first thought was another possible pairing…

  • sara

    not sure my last comment came through? however. these look fantastic! We are on a pancake kick too and I’m always up for trying new flours and ratios of dry to liquid 🙂 Hope you’re feeling well!

  • This post has definitely made me realise that I need more pancakes in my life – I’ve bookmarked several of your recipes to try the next time we have a lazy weekend!

  • Taking a note from your book and starting this weekend with pancakes. These look delicious! And I love the West Elm plates 😉 That place can do no wrong.

  • Nicole

    One of my favorite treats is an almond poppyseed muffin, so I love this flavor combination. Will definitely try your pancake version! I’m the same as you when it comes to taking that “mental walk through my pantry” on Saturday morning…. happens every time without fail.

  • Laura

    I’m a sucker for any kind of sweet breakfast on my days off and these look absolutely perfect. So much impressive fluffiness and lift! Those little flecks of poppy seeds made me smile too. So cute.

    I love “Good to the Grain” so much. It’s one of my go to baking resources, but surprise! Haven’t tried this recipe yet. On my next day off, these are happening with some funky flour mix ups. Thanks, lady 🙂

  • Emily :

    I LOVE poppyseed anything and can’t wait to try these out for breakfast soon. Thanks for the recipe!

  • I keep a jar of Nigella Lawson’s homemade pancake mix in the pantry and we eat these for breakfast a couple times a week. Obviously, we are a house of pancake lovers. Maybe I’ll give this recipe a try!

  • A pancake wakeup call is the best kind!

  • It didn’t, sad! Disqus must be finicky today 🙁 Anyhow, thanks friend! I love your pancake experiments (I think we probably like the same kind of pancakes!). I’ve been feeling ok – getting more tired than usual, and this baby is definitely changing my center of gravity, but I’m trying to roll with it. Thanks for checking in. xo

  • We all need more pancakes in our lives. Looking forward to hearing how you like them if you end up trying them! xo

  • Yeah! Funny you noticed the West Elm plates- I totally agree with you. Pretty much just want to outfit my whole house in West Elm.

  • Ohhh, I know that muffin and I love it, too! I’m glad I’m not the only weirdo who lays in bed thinking about my pantry. 😉 xo

  • Thanks, friend! I was quite impressed with the fluffiness myself. I think the key is to not overmix and to use a gentle hand when flipping. This recipe is actually pretty different from Kim’s original buttermilk pancake, but pretty much every single one of hers is a winner in my book. I especially love the buckwheat pancakes with pears (for fall/winter). Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! xo

  • Glad to hear poppy seeds have so many fans out there! Enjoy 🙂

  • Do you make your own mix based on Nigella’s recipe? I keep thinking that one day, I’ll pull together premade little jars of cookie and pancake mix for holiday gifts. Such a good idea to have on hand! xo

  • Katie (The Muffin Myth)

    Mmmm. Almond poppyseed with whole wheat? Yum! I can’t wait to try these out.

  • erin @ yummysupper

    I made the mistake of looking at your post before I’ve eaten a proper breakfast yet. We have pancakes quite a bit too – always a kid pleaser. Poppyseeds and buttermilk are great additions. Yum!
    I bet your belly is really growing. I hope you are feeling well and I’m glad to hear you’re giving yourself permission to take it easy a bit. It’s hard work growing a baby!
    xo to you,

  • You’ll hardly feel like they’re ‘healthy’ – I love baking with whole wheat pastry flour!

  • Hahah – I do that often. I forget that growing a baby is ‘work’ but it really is. My belly is definitely pushing forward and the little girl is kicking a lot. I’m troopin’ along. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods, Erin! xo

  • Thanks for sharing, Thom.

  • erin @ yummysupper

    I’m glad the bambina is coming along and that you’re hanging in! When are you due? All good over here with my now huge kids – 12 and 8. Being a parent continues to be so much fun.xo

  • Erin- I’m due mid-January! Crazy to think it’s only a few months away. 12 and 8 – great age to be a kid, and a parent, I’m sure 🙂

  • The recipe is for a jar of mix from the cookbook, Nigella Express, and I think pancake mix would be a great holiday gift!

  • Nicole

    These sound excellent! Marc sadly doesn’t care for pancakes (boo!) but he loves almond or lemon poppyseed muffins. Hmmm…maybe these will flip him 🙂 I also mentally look through my cupboards, ha. I love your writing, Kasey. You eloquently and beautifully write things that I absolutely relate to!

  • Make pancakes for yourself! Marc can have a muffin 😉 Thank you, friend, for the super kind words. They came at a good time – I’ve been struggling with writer’s block, and feeling unsure of my writing the past few weeks. It helps to know the words still resonate and I am slowly, but surely, coming out of my hole. xo

  • This made me check and make sure I have buttermilk for the weekend. 🙂

  • I just ate leftover waffles for dinner, but now I’m craving those fabulously fluffy pancakes. Love the poppy seed addition. I almost never go out for breakfast, either—that would require getting dressed!

  • YUM! I made whole wheat and poppy pancakes last week too and I was surprised what a perfect combination they are! I will have to try yours–always ready to break into our stash of poppies from the last trip to Hungary and use them while they are fresh!

  • Lovely! I should check that out!

  • Hahahaha. Love it! Hope you’ve been well, Noelle! i need to catch up on your latest posts 🙂 x

  • Ohhh waffles for dinner sound fabulous! I could eat breakfast for every meal of the day pretty much. And, I agree about the major benefit of eating in – PJs!

  • Sarah – I have a HUGE bag of poppy seeds (I bought mine in bulk) and I am definitely in need of more recipes for poppy seeds. I’m actually thinking of trying my hand at the poppy seed roll, and making my own poppy seed filling. If you have other suggestions, please let me know!

  • sarah kieffer

    These look so good! We also eat pancakes a lot – dinner once a week, and weekend breakfast. My kids *love* them. I’m going to have to try these! Mmm.

  • Cindy

    I have only recently come around to loving pancakes…I’ve been a waffle girl my whole life. I love the nutty crunch of poppy seeds. Easy weekend morning are my favorite!

  • Yay for pancakes, and weekend breakfasts! My kid better love pancakes 😉

  • We love waffles in our house, fact, thinking of making some this weekend!

  • Stephanie

    I didn’t have buttermilk on hand so I tried making my own by combining 1T lemon juice with almond milk…fyi for any others who may have the same idea, it doesn’t work with this recipe! Mine didn’t come out looking like yours at all 🙁

    I’ll try again when I have real buttermilk!

  • Stephanie, while you can, in a pinch, make buttermilk by adding acid to milk (such as lemon juice or vinegar), this method doesn’t work with almond milk. Sorry to hear these didn’t turn out for you but hope you give them another try when you do have some buttermilk on hand!

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